LOVELAND — Rick Gardner has been appointed director of EWI Colorado, a new applied research center in Loveland.
Gardner, who was the director of product development for Boulder-based MinuteKey, a maker of automated kiosks for key-duplication, will lead EWI’s newest facility dedicated to establishing best-in-class technical capabilities in advanced quality-measurement technologies and help manufacturers gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
Gardner also will serve as the spokesman for EWI Colorado, with responsibilities including business development, client relations, government and community relations, operations, and contracts.
EWI is operating in 14,000-square-feet at 815 14th St. S.W. in the Rocky Mountain Center for Innovation and Technology, the former Agilent Technologies campus that has been idle for the past five years.
EWI, formerly known as Edison Welding Institute, uses engineering and technology to develop, test and implement advanced manufacturing methods for a variety of industries, including aerospace, automotive, defense, energy, government, heavy manufacturing, medical and electronics.
The nonprofit organization is sustained from contract fees paid by companies tapping into its services. EWI’s presence is expected to attract companies to lease space at the 800,000-square-foot campus that has five buildings.
“EWI is thrilled to have such an experienced industry leader to help position EWI Colorado as a national and global leader,” Chris Conrardy, EWI’s vice president of strategic initiatives and chief technology officer, said in a prepared statement.
“With Rick Gardner’s proven track record of building startups and strong ties to the Rocky Mountain manufacturing region, he is a perfect choice for this vital role,” Conrardy said.
Gardner has more than 20 years of industry experience with startups and existing companies building high-performing teams to meet business objectives. He has managed organizations in the development of electronic manufacturing test systems, software/firmware systems, robotic systems, optical imaging systems, rocket and spacecraft propulsion systems.
In May, EWI named Evgueni Todorov as technology leader for nondestructive evaluation and to be in charge of applied research and development activities in advanced process monitoring and quality-assessment technologies at EWI Colorado. EWI also hired Marcie Erion of Loveland as a business-development specialist. While Erion was a business-development specialist for the city of Loveland, she was instrumental in attracting EWI to Loveland and helped assemble a $6 million incentive package funded by the city of Loveland, the state’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade and federal grants through the Colorado Advanced Manufacturing Association’s FourFront Colorado initiative. Each of the three entities provided $2 million.
EWI Colorado is the third location in EWI’s network of technology innovation centers, which includes EWI in Columbus, Ohio, and Buffalo Manufacturing Works in Western New York.